Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday reiterated his earlier claim that rising unemployment among youth in the country was the cause behind last week’s security breach in Parliament, reported The Indian Express.

On December 13, two men had jumped into the Lok Sabha chamber from the visitors’ gallery and opened gas canisters. Outside Parliament, a man and a woman had opened smoke canisters.

The Opposition legislators had been demanding a discussion on the security breach and a statement by Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah since December 14 till Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned sine die on Thursday.

An unprecedented 100 Opposition MPs from the Lok Sabha and 46 from the Rajya Sabha were suspended during the Winter Session of Parliament over their demand.

“The government has not given employment to youth,” Gandhi said when leaders of the INDIA bloc gathered at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Friday to protest against the suspension of the Opposition legislators. “This is why they jumped and entered the Parliament.”

The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance is a coalition of 28 Opposition parties that plans to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Gandhi had alleged last week that rising unemployment and inflation, brought about by the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were behind the security breach in Parliament.

During Friday’s protest, the Congress leader also raised questions on the security checks at Parliament and asked how could two men enter the complex carrying the gas canisters. “If they could have passed the security checks, then they could have also carried something else too,” he said.

He also stated that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government has silenced crores of Indians by suspending the Opposition members who are their representatives.

“They think they can control the media,” he said. “They think that they can give the country’s wealth to the Adanis. However, I am sure that they can never understand the youth of the country.”

The Wayanad MP was present at the protest gathering, called “Save Democracy”, along with Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Kharge urged his fellow MPs to fight against the government’s alleged attempts to silence the Opposition.

“Under our Constitution, everyone has the right to speak,” said the Congress chief. “When we give notice in Parliament, we are not even given a chance to read the notice. You [Dhankhar] occupy a constitutional post and you cry. You talk about caste. Should I say that the BJP government is not letting a Dalit speak? You cannot take away our right to speak.”

Pawar said that the opposition was ready to “pay any price” to “save democracy”, reported ANI.

Meanwhile, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi alleged that the government was not keen on the large number of suspensions but some Opposition MPs had sought to be suspended after action was taken against their colleagues, reported PTI.

“...after we suspended a few MPs, several of their colleagues came with requests to us seeking suspension,” Joshi said at a press conference. “This is the level the Congress stoops to.”

Joshi also said that members of the Opposition were free to approach the judiciary over the three new criminal laws – the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill – which were passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday with the majority of Opposition MPs absent.